Q&A with candidates for the State House 24th District, Position 2 | 2020 Election

Leader news staff
Posted 10/15/20

What makes you the best choice in your race to represent the residents of Legislative District 24 in Olympia? 

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Q&A with candidates for the State House 24th District, Position 2 | 2020 Election


24th District, Position 2


(Republican Party)

What makes you the best choice in your race to represent the residents of Legislative District 24 in Olympia? 

I hear and will prioritize the needs of the Olympic Peninsula.

I’ll rebuild our economy while protecting our most vulnerable citizens, oppose higher and new taxes, revitalize schools, and conserve our renewable natural resources.

As state representative, I’ll reduce the regulatory burden, cutting red tape and taxes. I’ll work to ensure our small businesses re-open while protecting our seniors. We’ve proven our ability to ensure the health of our Peninsula families without destroying their livelihoods.  

I oppose new and higher taxes. During a budget crisis, government must tighten its belt, not rely on struggling families to make up the difference. My opponent wants more money from your pockets — he supports an income tax between 3 percent and
8 percent! (Sequim Sunrise Rotary) 

Kindergarten is too early to teach children graphic information about sex; I oppose R-90. I support improving broadband access. Our state’s constitution guarantees our children equitable education but many families lack consistent internet access, stalling their children’s education. 

I oppose radical Seattle ideas. Our first responders are already spread thin across our rural peninsula; defunding police will only increase already slow response times. I will defend the police, not defund them. 

I’m focused on your needs, not Seattle’s. 

What’s your top priority if you win in November? 

My top priority is responding to and recovering from the crisis in front of us. 

Along with the Tacoma News Tribune and the Seattle Times, I have been an advocate for a special session of the Legislature so that the state and our community can first, determine exactly how steep the budget shortfall will be (current estimates project $2.3 billion), then begin planning — sooner rather than later — for how to address the budget shortfall. Every day of delay reduces the options available to fix it. 

My opponent doesn’t care; his solution is to create an income tax, taking more money out of struggling families’ pockets and hurting our seniors.  

I will work to eliminate incompetence in the Employment Security Department. The current department head, allegedly hired for her knowledge of modern security protocols, intentionally removed them, resulting in a Nigerian theft ring stealing $650 million and a four month-plus backlog on payments to tens of thousands of people. 

Widespread fraud within the state continues to be a severe issue that impacts the ability of struggling families to pay their bills, yet my opponent claims this is mostly resolved. That is unacceptable and I will ensure fraud and corruption is rooted out.

What’s the biggest difference between you and your opponent? 

I’m not a career politician; rather, I spent a lifetime as a civil servant. I work for you.

I won’t let radical Seattle ideas that are bad for our community infect the Peninsula.  

Our police are already stretched too thin. Response times are already slow. Defunding the police has worsened homelessness and drug addiction in Seattle; we don’t want that here. 

Police must be allowed to uphold law and order. When protesters blocked roads in Port Townsend and screamed explicit words without care for young kids nearby or the possibility they were preventing rapid emergency response, my opponent was silent. As violence reigns in Seattle, my opponent is silent, prioritizing his friends’ checks over our community’s values and needs.   

As an inspector general in the Army, I rooted out corruption and inefficiency, then crafted smart solutions. My opponent seems unconcerned that the state lost $650 million to Nigerian scammers through rank incompetence and he thinks the best way to solve this economic crisis is to raise your taxes. 

I know better. I’ll ensure the Employment Security Department is actually secure. I oppose new and higher taxes. 

I’m Brian Pruiett and I’d appreciate your vote for State Representative in November. 

24th District, Position 2


(Democratic Party)

What makes you the best choice in your race to represent the residents of Legislative District 24 in Olympia?

I am grateful for having the honor of representing the people of the 24th Legislative District in Olympia the last 10 years. We have done a lot working together to improve peoples lives on the Peninsula by making investments in healthcare, job training, education and parks.

My positions on key committees such as Health and Wellness, Appropriations and chair of the Capital Budget Committee in the house puts me in the rooms where decisions are going to be made that will have an impact on the Peninsula. I am able to link policy and capital investments that lead to opportunities such as a dental clinic at Jefferson Health Care which is providing much needed dental care for underserved populations in a dental chair, where it is less expensive with better out comes, than in the emergency room.

A $500K investment in the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, that I shepherded through the capital budget process will lead to an expansion of the marine systems program at the school; creating highly marketable skills with great job opportunities for the graduates.

With your vote I will be able to continue to make these kinds of decisions that help make the Peninsula an even better place to live and work.

What’s your top priority if you win in November?

Getting back to a semblance of normal as we manage the pandemic is going to be a focus for the next session, which means restoring economic activity, opening schools up while staying safe.

The state has budget deficits to address without cutting important services.

Hopefully, we can use the Capital Budget to continue to make important investments in the community, such as broadband, that create jobs during the construction, and lead to future economic strength.

Affordable housing is another area that needs attention and as Capital Budget chair I hope to continue to make investments in this important area, making sure we are looking through an equity lens to make the right investments.

Over the last few years we have been able to make important investments in our ecosystem at Chimacum Ridge, the Kilisut Harbor opening and Dabob Bay. The hope is to be able to continue doing that type of work.

What’s the biggest difference between you and your opponent?

I have experience in Olympia building relationships across the political spectrum which is how you get things done. As I mentioned earlier I have seats on important committees and chair the committee that oversees the capital investments for the state from schools to parks.

Senator Van de Wegge, Representative Mike Chapman and I work well together covering the multiple issues that impact us here on the Peninsula whether it is transportation, natural resources, health care or many others.

With your votes you can send an experienced team back to Olympia during these challenging times to continue working with and for you to help the Peninsula thrive.


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Sonny Flores

Tharinger speaks of being. For the people ? Well not in all areas. During a forum held in Port Townsend a couple years ago, Tharinger refused to speak to my questions regarding the “Windfall Act”. Which does not allow for a person with a state pension to collect His or her. “Full Social Security benefit”. Specifically, I asked if he believed it was fair that elected officials like himself, are allowed collect his full Social Security benefits upon retirement from his elected position, but an individual who who receives a State pension such as a retired teacher or police officer is not entitled to their full SS benefits . Tharinger would not respond only saying. “It’s a federal issue “ and appeard angry that the question was asked. Although it is true that the Windfall Act is a federal issue, I would of thought since he says he is here for us all , that he would advocate for a fair and just action for all of his constituents.

It seems Tharinger is not in support of equality, nor have I received any response from his office regarding this issue that affects many retired people. Myself and many others have paid into Social Security, therefore I should be entitled to receive what is owed to us all regardless if we have a state pension, but if your an elected official you are allowed to receive full benefits regardless if you are receiving a government pension... hmmm does not seem right ... does it?

5 days ago